Turn the page.


Remember "Different Strokes"

Just saw a clip of Morgan Freeman on “60 Minutes” talking about racism in the United States. First of all, why is there a Viagra ad when I look at this link? Don't they know who I am? Second, He does not want a Black History Month and doesn't think we need to talk about it. This will end racism, in his opinion. I see his point, and have often wished we lived in a society where skin color was more of a non-issue. But we don’t. So the phrase, "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?" comes to mind. As long as society feels the need to label people this way...White...Black...Purple...Hispanic... Asian... African... Indian... Ethiopian... Texan... racism will continue.

I cannot tell you how many times I have encountered situations where I wondered if my skin color was a factor in how I was treated,or someone reacted to me. Like the time In New Mexico at a hotel where the desk clerk told me I would make a great lightening rod, in response to me asking if the pool was open (I meant in general) and it was raining outside at that moment. What was that?!!! Yes, those feelings still lurk in the dark corners of our society. Racial profiling. We are all impacted by what we see. We can’t help but draw conclusions, sometimes subconsciously, based on our first visual perspective of someone, based on our experience, what we have heard, what we see on t.v. and what we have been taught in our family lives.

Then, I am so used to hearing about my skin color, sometimes from reading between the lines. “Oh. I had no idea you were black from our telephone conversation.” “You speak so well for an African American.” “Where are you from?” possibly meaning, “What kind of education did you have that makes you different than the African American people I have seen on t.v.?,(or) heard about in rap music?, (or) saw on the news?, etc.” There’s a tone I can hear when speaking with someone of a different ethnic background, that gives evidence that a preconceived notion has been applied to me, which really has nothing to do with who I am, except that my skin color matches that of someone from that person’s history.

Some feel this country was built on my ancestors, and all of the enslaved Africans and Native Americans forced into becoming citizens in this country. You hear about the “whites” who came here to pursue the “American Dream.” My ancestors most likely did not have a dream, but more of a nightmare when being chained to the ships that brought them here. Commemorating this, when it has been omitted from text books, American History, a taboo subject, is necessary in the beginnings of the healing process in our country.

I have no answers as to where my ancestors came from, their culture & traditions, names, dates, tombstones to visit, all due to the inhumane way they were treated - being treated as property. From that enslavement to now, we have been forced basically to conform to what is acceptable by “whites” in order to “fit” into a society that rejected us as humans, yet used our strengths to convert the Native Americans‘ land into what the “whites“ wanted. The feelings, the devaluation (did I just make up another word?), has been passed on from generation to generation, as has the hate and ignorance on the other side of the coin. Some blacks have trouble getting past the thumb of “the man.” Black History Month says to me, “your people” are of value to our country. Part of me wonders why "my people" does not encompass all the people I love...my peeps!! On the other hand, I appreciate this commemoration.

I love white people!! If I were to say that aloud, that would sound ridiculous and I would be rolling on the floor laughing, as those who know me might. Just for the record, I don't speak Ebonics, nor do I use the acronyms of our technology era (eg. ROFLMBO!!) Yes, I did get teased because I didn't curse as a kid, didn't use slang very well either. Just doesn't roll off my tongue very easily. Are there really white people that say, "I love black people!!" like Jerry Maguire? That brings me back to Morgan Freeman's thought. Why should we feel a need to say that? Shouldn't love be for all folks, no matter what factors make us different? What are your thoughts?

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